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Old May 20, 2013, 02:35 PM   #1
TunnelRat
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How SIG Sauer has Become the BMW of the Firearm World

I want to start this with a story. This passed Saturday I was at the range. Upon arrival I noticed a couple, man and his wife or girlfriend, shooting. I put my gear down and started getting ready. I noticed they were wearing matching SIG Sauer hats and had matching SIG P226 Elite Darks with 22 LR converserion kits. Going off of MSRP we're talking $1218 per gun plus $285 for each conversion kit. That's just over $3000 worth of guns, again MSRP so actual price was likely less. My guess is they had just taken a SIG Sauer class at the Academy, hence the hats and gear.

To the man and his companion's credit they were good beginners. Definitely passed novice but not overly experienced. I noticed they had numerous failure to ejects. Apparently no one at the Academy told them that those conversion kits require good quality 22 ammo, not the cheap stuff they were shooting. Still they cleared the malfunctions just fine.

The first warning bell happened when I was loading a magazine between firing. Suddenly the woman yells out that she's going down range and just starts walking out from behind the firing line. Now my firearms were on the table but this woman had no idea from where she was if they were clear and made no effort to check that they were. This is a safety issue. The man made no effort to check on me either. I imagine that whatever course they had taken had a range safety officer that did this for them, but that's not the real world. People can be idiots and people make mistakes, you should always get a verbal confirmation, and a visual one if you can manage it, before going downrange.

The next oddity came from watching them change targets. I watched as time and time again they took down brand new Shoot-N-See reactive targets that had all of 1 magazine shot through them (shooting 22 this leaves a lot of the target left). For people not in the know these are peel and stick targets that are reactive so that when you shoot them they leave bright yellow circles around the hole (heat reactive paint). They are very good for figuring out where you're hitting. They come with little pasties, small maybe inch circles, that are also reactive. You cover up the holes with the pasties and keep shooting. It makes up for the targets costing a good 10 times that of paper targets. I looked at the table and saw a stack of the backings for the targets with all the pasties attached. I looked over at the man and asked him out of curiosity, "Do you prefer not to use the pasties?" He looks down at the backings for a second, pauses, then looks up at me and says, "For what I paid for these targets I don't really care." Now I'm not poor and I'm not rich, but that's basically throwing money away. I realized this guy was either rich that he really didn't care, or didn't even realize that was what those little circles were for. I will say that he suddenly started using them the next time he changed targets.

Lastly the man and his companion started getting ready to leave. The man informed me, "We'll leave our hearing protection on so you can keep shooting." I would hope he would, as it is in the rules and general common sense, but I got the impression he was doing me a favor. His companion came over and politely asked me what I was shooting. I explained to her and she nodded pleasantly. The man looked like he couldn't care less. They were obviously not SIGs and thus not interesting to him. This is sort of funny as I had a good $2500 in guns on me.

Anyway they leave and the woman says goodbye, man nods in my direction. Upon leaving myself I realize that the two of them had put out both the rifle range and archery range flags on the flagpole. I don't know why they thought they had to put out two flags, it's not a signal core, but I guess they saw both and put both out there.

So what's my point? This isn't really a new thing. The same situation has essentially happened before, and always with shooters of SIG pistols. They always have the matching hats and the brand new shiny SIGs. Not the standard SIGs mind you, but always Elite models with the beavertails that, in my opinion, really do nothing on a SIG. They buy the models with the most adjectives SIG can fit on the box. Or more likely the ones that the Pro Shop employees convinced them that they needed.

But it's their money you might say. Rightfully so. But when you can buy a plain jane P226 either used or factory certified for half the price of the new Elites with arguably better craftsmanship it tells me something. It tells me they don't know better. And in many cases it appears they don't care to know better.

So how is this like BMW? The BMWs of today are great cars, just like the BMWs of the past. But many of the people buying BMWs today know nothing about the car, its engine, or anything else about it. They buy it because it has those three letters on it: BMW. The same goes for SIG. They buy it for the name and not for what's under the hood. Now what's under the hood certainly helped to build that name, but that's not really why they're there. It's a status symbol to them.

Now this doesn't mean all BMW owners or all SIG owners are like this. There are a number of people in both camps that own them because they do know what's under the hood. But I have to say they're in the minority. And just like the BMW owners that buy them for the heated steering wheel you have the SIG owners that need beavertails, Diamond finishes, and "Tactical" or "Combat" written on the side. While I can appreciate these features to a point, as a purist it makes me a little disheartened.

This was a long rant, thanks for reading.

-TR
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Old May 20, 2013, 02:53 PM   #2
UncleEd
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Well, TR, it's called marketing.

Sig puts a lot of money into advertising the fancied up 226s and 229s, usually meaning glittery grips and beavertails and different oddities that can be added to the basic gun such as "custom" gripping surfaces.

In the gun cases, these fancied up pistols call attention to themselves, much like the prettified woman who really has underneath all the same equipment as the "homely" one.

I understand the president of Sig USA used to head up Kimber, another company that has taken the 1911 platform and given it more names than
a career criminal has on his rap sheet.

We all have a certain urge to get the new and improved.

Now admit it, TR, haven't you gone that route yourself at least once in your life.

So, it's time for me to return to shooting my Dirty Harry revolver 'cause I'm just one mean dude. (My ankle holster is a .500.)
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Old May 20, 2013, 03:01 PM   #3
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And it is neither limited to firearms nor cars.

Look how many first time motorcycle buyers go for a Harley at one end, or a GSX-R or Hayabusa at the other, because of image; look at all the first time dog owners who get a pit, or Rottie, because of image; go to a ski resort and see how many crashing newbies are kitted in high end K2 or Rossignol gear, because of image.

Not atypical of those with more money than sense.
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Old May 20, 2013, 03:12 PM   #4
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Re: How SIG Sauer has Become the BMW of the Firearm World

Quote:
Originally Posted by MLeake View Post
And it is neither limited to firearms nor cars.

Look how many first time motorcycle buyers go for a Harley at one end, or a GSX-R or Hayabusa at the other, because of image; look at all the first time dog owners who get a pit, or Rottie, because of image; go to a ski resort and see how many crashing newbies are kitted in high end K2 or Rossignol gear, because of image.

Not atypical of those with more money than sense.
This X 1000.

Having money for the top of the line doesn't make you better at that activity. I will say that I personally do enjoy high end gear but will usually work my way up to it.
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Old May 20, 2013, 03:19 PM   #5
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this reminds me of my ccw qualification day. some of the guys were pulling their brand new kimbers and sigs out of the boxes still glistening with packing oil and grease, while my buddy pulls out his bersa 380. he proceeds to put all 6 rounds in a 1" group while they all fail to put them all on paper.
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Old May 20, 2013, 03:29 PM   #6
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Quote:
Now admit it, TR, haven't you gone that route yourself at least once in your life.
No doubt I probably have, but I like to delude myself in thinking that I do some research first. I don't generally buy the top of the line my first go, my first handgun was a used and somewhat beat up Model 19 and my first car was a dealer special as it had been on the lot for months (it was 16k brand new).

Have I bought the "top of the line" before? Yes, but not until I've spent some time with the Barney basic.


I think a lot of you are right that it's more a matter of money really. There are those that think buying the best will make them the best. Though determining the "best" has been the source of countless threads on this forum. I do think image is a driving factor though. We're seeing a lot more shooters recently which is great. But many of these folks are passing on training in exchange for equipment. Oh well, thanks for being a sounding board.
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Old May 20, 2013, 03:38 PM   #7
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Talking about Kimber's, when I took my ccw class one of the guys was talking about his Kimber and how great it was and he's only put one box of ammo through it since he bought it a couple years ago and Kimber's are great and blah blah blah. Then he asked about my gun and I said a Taurus 1911, (naturally he made a face about it) and I've put about 1000 rounds through it since I got it last month. But for top of the line guns I think I'll just stick with H&K.
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Old May 20, 2013, 03:43 PM   #8
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Well I see similar behavior a lot at the locale ranges and it involves lots of different brands. I think what you’re seeing is more the result of all the folks who grabbed new guns and are now shooting them. I personally think it’s a good thing overall, but do share you concern about safety. On my last range visit I had to report a lady for waving her go around behind the line. Then a few minutes later I saw the Range Officer return a second time to admonish her shooting partner for something else.
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Old May 20, 2013, 03:50 PM   #9
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Photography is exactly the same way. Rich newbies will buy a $2500 Canon 5D DSLR body and another $10k in "white" L lenses because that's what all the pros have. But without the knowledge, and experience of how to make a good picture, all it is is window dressing. And the actual good photographers can spot these impostors a mile away.
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Old May 20, 2013, 03:53 PM   #10
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Lets not be too hard on the newbs. Like everyone else there will be some bad seeds, but on the whole they will learn.
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Old May 20, 2013, 03:56 PM   #11
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I have to admit my first gun was a Sig P228. It is a great gun and a great place to start. The single action was smooth and light compared to almost any other DA/SA gun I fired. My second gun was a H&K USP in .40 S&W. This was also a DA/SA with decock like the Sig. Accuracy to me seemed better than most other guns I fired and reliability was flawless. I was (an am not) a Sig snob though and I have many different brands of firearms including Les Baer, STI, Kahr, Browning, Ruger, Glock, H&K, and Beretta. I only carried the P228 for a short while as I cannot conceal a pistol that size wearing what I typically wear (Miami weather). I also found the long, heavy pull of the DA trigger bad for fast, first shot accuracy. I switched to carrying a Glock 26 which I did for many years before switching to a Kahr PM9.

Interestingly enough, I am also a BMW guy. I do not own any BMW clothing and I do not put BMW stuff all over the place. For those who know BMWs, I had a '02 E46 M3 and I currently have an '09 E90 M3. I know what is under the hood and I got the car for how it drives (not price or image). I liken the M3 to my Les Baer more than I would a Sig (blah, blah, blah series). BMWs are known for their handling and even my wife (who is totally NOT a car person) notices. She just went from a X5 to a Toyota Siena minivan. The car is extremely stable at high speeds, takes corners well, and stops on a dime. A great pistol is well balanced, points naturally, has a crisp smooth trigger, and is well finished.

I appreciate nice things, but I try to make sure that I buy what my level of skill requires. I asked a friend why I should buy a very accurate gun if my skill level wasn't up to the gun's capabilities. He told me with a highly accurate gun, I know how much of the result is based on my skill versus the capability ofthe gun.
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Old May 20, 2013, 04:03 PM   #12
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Quote:
Lets not be too hard on the newbs. Like everyone else there will be some bad seeds, but on the whole they will learn.
I don't think this is being hard on newbies. If anything, it's being hard on newbies, who for some reason believe that $$$ makes up for lack of knowledge/experience.

Don't get me wrong, good equipment can make a difference, even in photography (the example I provided), but if you don't know what the hell you're doing, a lot of times the high end equipment can be a detriment and make it even harder.

I used to frequent a photography forum. I remember a guy posting how he had just bought some high end camera, with some high end lenses. He posted some heavily over exposed images. He was asking what he was doing wrong. Someone replied, "What mode are you in? Are you using aperture priority? What was your shutter speed and f/stop set to?" The guy replied, "What's an aperture and f/stop?" Those two things/concepts can be somewhat difficult for someone new to photography, but someone who just dropped $10k on gear should know the basics...and those are the basics.
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Old May 20, 2013, 04:03 PM   #13
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A Sig is a status symbol and that is part of the appeal to me. I don't own one yet, but have shot a 1911 and a P220 and drooled on several P226s. I don't know what I would do in the presence of a 210. Still, I have enough experience that I want to do more research before I plop down that much of my HARD earned money. Same goes for some ot the higher end 1911s.

BTW, I am not sure Sig is THE top end status symbol, but it is up the ladder from what I have now which still makes me smile.
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Old May 20, 2013, 04:06 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stephen426
I have to admit my first gun was a Sig P228. It is a great gun and a great place to start.
Don't get me wrong. One of my favorite guns in the past was a used German police P228. SIGs are great guns at the core, even with all the bedazzling of late.

Quote:
Originally Posted by stephen426
I also found the long, heavy pull of the DA trigger bad for fast, first shot accuracy. I switched to carrying a Glock 26 which I did for many years before switching to a Kahr PM9.
I've decided to stick with DA/SA even after a very positive experience with M&Ps. I really like my M&Ps, but DA/SA is just second nature to me now.

Quote:
Originally Posted by stephen426
Interestingly enough, I am also a BMW guy. I do not own any BMW clothing and I do not put BMW stuff all over the place. For those who know BMWs, I had a '02 E46 M3 and I currently have an '09 E90 M3. I know what is under the hood and I got the car for how it drives (not price or image).
I'm a VW guy. Again I wasn't saying, made sure to mention that too, that all BMW owners are like this. Just that there is a definite population that is. Probably true of all high end cars, maybe I just have more experience with BMW owners.
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Old May 20, 2013, 04:08 PM   #15
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I understand what your saying. While purchasing a firearm with a buddy I paid just under $800 and he got the same gun with the bells and whistles for almost $1400. I have a thousand rounds through mine and I placed in a USPSA match with it recently. He has taken his out once or twice and shot maybe a single box of ammo through it, but his gun has a rail, ambi safety (even though he's right handed,) some weird sights and a high speed finish, must be a better gun!
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Old May 20, 2013, 04:22 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gaerek
Photography is exactly the same way. Rich newbies will buy a $2500 Canon 5D DSLR body and another $10k in "white" L lenses because that's what all the pros have. But without the knowledge, and experience of how to make a good picture, all it is is window dressing. And the actual good photographers can spot these impostors a mile away.
Funny you mention that... Photography is another hobby of mine. I am Nikon shooter though and have the D800. I upgraded from the D200 after using it for about 6.5 years. The D200 still works fine, but the overall resolution is a bit out dated. I have point and shoots shooting higher resolution and the D200 lacks video capability. I used the D200 with the 18-200 lens which was great for general purpose photography. I use my D800 for product photography at work though and I actually do require the higher resolution. I have also helped two friends shoot their weddings and the results we amazing. I have been into phography since I was a kid and I do actually know what I am doing with the camera. Of course after I upgraded to the D800, I had to buy the 24-70 2.8 lens and then the 28-300. I also ended up buying the SB-910 since I found a great deal on it. The D800 is just under the pro-level D4 which is way above my capabilities and requirements. I don't make money off my camera so I'm not spending that kind of dough.
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Old May 20, 2013, 04:58 PM   #17
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I could tell you the same story as the OP about every brand of gun out there, from Perazzi's to Hi-Points. No monopoly on that kind of behavior with SIG owners.

If you shoot any amount of time at all, you'll find SIG fanboys, Glock fanboys, Ruger fanboys, S&W fanboys, Colt fanboys, H&K fanboys, etc, etc etc.

They are all completely confident that what they have is the best (regardless of whether they can shoot it or not) and you must be an idiot for not understanding why.

They're usually the ones who won't compete in any type of competition.

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Old May 20, 2013, 05:04 PM   #18
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I bought a P220 a few years back that came with SIG SAUER! blue earmuffs, a tactical SIG SAUER! range bag in very very tactical black, SIG SAUER! stickers for my truck, house, dog, and SIG SAUER!!! t-shirt.

The P220 is one of the nicest shooting guns I own this side of a 1911 so I really didn't mind the "made in China" junk the gun came bundled with--but the culture of the Sig owner is there.

I could have a Wilson and Ed Brown on the table and the local Sigheads will ask about how accurate the P220 is, and if I like the E2 grips I recently put on it.
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Old May 20, 2013, 05:11 PM   #19
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Can I have the 3 minutes of my life back.... What is your point? Really why do you care at all what someone else chooses to buy with their money?

Why the need to judge someone else based on this limited contact?

All poodles are dogs not all dogs are poodles.

I rarely pay any attention to others at the range beyond making sure they are acting and shooting in a safe manner. I am not there to be impressed or impress. I really do not get the point of this thread.
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Old May 20, 2013, 05:28 PM   #20
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Now, now, don't be hard on the Yuppies. At least they were out there shooting.
I recall the one couple who attended a couple of IDPA matches here on the strength of their attendance at an even more prestigious gunfighting academy with little followup practice. Pretty sad. Sadder still, they did not stay with it.

I was looking at a BMW to go with my GGI P226, but I guess I'll have to stick with my pickup truck.
Reverse snobbism is pretty bad, too, you know.
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Old May 20, 2013, 05:31 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WVsig
Can I have the 3 minutes of my life back
No one made you read it.
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Old May 20, 2013, 05:31 PM   #22
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Heh from the title I thought you were going to say they're overpriced, prone to failures and are absurdly expensive to repair.
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Old May 20, 2013, 05:32 PM   #23
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Heh from the title I thought you were going to say they're overpriced, prone to failures and are absurdly expensive to repair.
LOL!!! Yes that would be a BMW.....
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Old May 20, 2013, 05:34 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Watson
I was looking at a BMW to go with my GGI P226, but I guess I'll have to stick with my pickup truck. Reverse snobbism is pretty bad, too, you know.
I guess you missed the multiple points where I mention that not all owners of either product are 100% like the people mentioned. I've owned probably a dozen SIGs. My best friend still shoots as his primary the first gun he ever owned, a German P220.
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Old May 20, 2013, 05:36 PM   #25
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Quote:
No one made you read it.
You are correct I did not but one has to wonder why you felt the need to post it? Are you jealous of what others are able to purchase? Do people have to ask you for permission to start with a nice firearm when they begin shooting?

Re-read your post you are projecting so much onto these people. You really had limited interaction with them yet felt you know enough to judge their intent and their motivations. One again has to ask why?

I like the shoot and see targets but I do not use the circles because more often than not they fall off after a shot or two hits anywhere near them. For "people not in the know" they are too small and do not cover enough the hole made by calibers 9mm and up. IMHO Does that make me a rich BMW snob driving want to be newbie?
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